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Report: Population Growth Depends On Immigration

U.S. population growth is petering out, with future growth to come mostly through immigration from developing countries, according to a report released today by the nonpartisan Population Reference Bureau. Andrea Stone of AOL News reports that U.S. immigration laws and policies could impact population growth:

The Population Research Bureau [sic] said in a report released today that the rate of increase over the next four decades “depends largely on future trends in international migration.” It said that the current population of 310 million could increase to 399 million, 423 million or 458 million by 2050, depending on immigration trends and, by extension, immigration laws, over the next 40 years.

The group’s 2010 World Population Data Sheet defined low net immigration at 1.1 million to 1.8 million per year and high immigration at a range of 1.5 million to 2.4 million per year.

Current immigration laws put the U.S. on the low side for net immigration — at least for legal entry into the country. The government caps green cards at a certain number each year. In 2009, that meant about 1.1 million people became legal permanent residents of the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Of course, that’s not counting illegal immigrants — DHS estimated 10.8 people were living in the U.S. illegally in 2009. But advocates of higher quotas argue that increasing the number of people who could legally enter the U.S. would also decrease illegal immigration. “We have a fundamental problem as a country accepting the idea that we need immigration numbers,” Mary Giovagnoli, director of Immigration Policy Center told TWI. “If we had a legal immigration system that worked, it would reduce the incentive for illegal immigration.”

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